Is Arthritis Due To Gut Disturbance?


Is Arthritis Due To Gut Disturbance?
Osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease, is the most common form of arthritis and according to the CDC, over 52 million Americans have been told by a doctor that they have some form of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, or fibromyalgia. Interestingly, the ancient science of Ayurveda has long described three basic types of musculoskeletal joint diseases, namely sandhivata [osteoarthritis], amavata [rheumatoid arthritis], and vata rakta [gout], that are characterized by pain and swelling of the joints. Management for each type of arthritis is unique, as we shall discuss below, but for nearly all cases, it’s important to acknowledge that arthritis begins in the colon.

“All disease begins in the gut.” - Hippocrates

According to Ayurveda, there are three doshas called vata, pitta, and kapha. We can think of these three doshas as the guiding principles that keep all our bodily functions balanced and healthy. Ayurvedic literature states that vata dosha and asthi dhatu [bone tissue] are intimately associated and that the colon houses vata dosha. Therefore, the colon - being the home of vata dosha is primarily responsible for the development of vata disorders [i.e. osteoarthritis]. Similarly, the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis [“ama vata”] is considered to be due to the formation of metabolic waste products ["ama"] in the intestine caused by impaired digestive power [“agni”]. Finally, the origin of gout [“rakta vata”] is believed to be in blood. More specifically, when vata leaves the colon and invades both blood and joints, it produces gout.

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Nutritional support for healthy joints and bone tissue; assists in healthy renewal of cartilage; provides an absorbable source of calcium to aid bone-building.

Janu Basti - Ayurvedic Management For Osteoarthritis

Simple Ayurvedic Considerations:
- vata imbalance in the skeletal system [“asthi dhatu”] creates osteoarthritis
- vata imbalance with toxins [“ama”] entering bone creates rheumatoid arthritis
- vata imbalance in blood [“rakta dhatu”] entering into boney tissue leads to gout
- vata imbalance in muscular tissue [mamsa dhatu] creates fibromyalgia


Healthy Digestion - Healthy Bones:
Enjoying a balancing diet and lifestyle can help maintain optimum health. Some key points to remember in addition to the above causes include:

  • Avoid ice drinks and cold foods. This will weaken the digestive fire.
  • Eat the largest meal between the hours of 11am and 1pm when digestive fire is strong.
  • Eat a light meal for dinner to avoid overtaxing the stomach.
  • Avoid overeating and emotional eating. This can make it hard for the stomach to properly digest the overloaded food.
  • Get moving! Taking a walk after meals can aid in digestion and increase digestive fire.
  • Certain yoga poses and pranayama (breathing exercises) are also particularly beneficial to improve digestion.
  • Following a daily routine of meditation, oil massages and self-care will bring overall balance and contentment.


Organic Digest Tone (Triphala Plus)
Supports digestive system and elimination; assists body in absorbing nutrients; high-quality antioxidant; wide range of benefits. Good health depends on strong, efficient digestion.

Herbal Di-Gest
Supports improved digestion and balanced appetite; helps with gas, bloating, and discomfort.

Osteoarthritis from an Ayurvedic perspective is a vata imbalance which settles into bone tissue and creates symptoms of pain and stiffness in joints. Often, osteoarthritis begins with pain in one joint but subsequently spreads to other joints. Vata, the main acting dosha, has the ability to bring toxins [“ama”] from the colon and travel throughout the body, lodge in bone tissue, and give rise to pain and stiffness characteristic of arthritis. Therefore, it is important to discuss causative factors which can further worsen vata imbalances and therefore create symptoms of arthritis.

Factors which may worsen vata dosha; therefore avoid:

  • cold foods such as salads
  • avoid cold and iced drinks
  • beans, drying grains such as barley and corn
  • nightshades such as tomato, potato, and eggplant

Improve Digestion 
Vata dosha can create a “hard” digestive tract and therefore may create symptoms of constipation, abdominal distention, flatulence, and even develop a nervous appetite. Instead, we should consider a vata pacifying diet which is centered around warm and nourishing meals.
"Leaky Gut" - The Root Cause Of All Disease?

Organic Spice Mix - To Improve Digestion
Ready-to-use spice mixtures satisfy the six ayurvedic tastes considered essential for balance.

Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid Arthritis is considered the formation of “ama” which are by-products of poor digestion within the intestines and generally caused by diminished digestive power [“impaired Agni”]. Interestingly, “ama” resembles kapha, thus it tends to deposit in kapha locations, primarily the joints. Therefore, the management for Rheumatoid Arthritis first begins by breaking the chain of toxins [“ama”] within the colon by simply fasting or eating light foods. This again, acknowledges and stresses the importance that the root cause of rheumatoid arthritis may very well be gut disturbance and impaired digestion. The management of rheumatoid arthritis may be rather complex and often requires “Panchakarma” under the guidance of a qualified Ayurvedic professional.

Joint Soothe II
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Supports a healthy inflammatory response; traditionally used for occasional joint discomfort and muscle aches; supports detoxification and healthy flexibility.

Turmeric is one of the oldest, most important spices known to humankind. Turmeric helps purify the blood and acts as an antioxidant; supports healthy heart, liver, lungs, circulation and nervous system.

Panchakarma is a an Ayurvedic Detox & Rejuvenation Process. Ayurveda gives priority not only to preventive and therapeutic procedures but also to purification and rejuvenation therapies. Panchakarma or five therapeutic procedures are part of  ‘sodhana’ treatments. Ayurveda also described ‘shamana’ which are considered less intense procedures for prevention and curing of diseases.



The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have any serious acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained ayurvedic expert, call or e-mail us for the number of a physician in your area. Check with your doctor before taking herbs or using essential oils when pregnant or nursing.

Autoimmune Conditions [Rheumatoid Arthritis]: An Ayurvedic Perspective + Anti-Inflammatory Turmeric Sun Dressing Recipe

Autoimmune Conditions
In essence, autoimmunity is when the body attacks itself. The function of the immune system is to help protect you from disease. However, when the immune system doesn’t function properly it can mistakenly identify your own bodily tissue as an invader and therefore mount an attack - the immune response!

Main Factors Of Health ...
The concept of health according to the ancient science of Ayurveda is explained in terms of healthy digestion [agni], balanced doshas [vata-pitta-kapha], preventing ama [toxins], and preserving ojas [vital essense of life]. When all these factors are balanced then it’s said that the person will be strong, healthy, and live a long and happy life.

“Let food by thy medicine and medicine thy food.”– Hippocrates 


Healthy Digestion

According to the most ancient and revered textbook of Ayurveda, the Charak Samhita, the principle of “Agni” – The Digestive Fire illustrates the body’s ability to digest food; almost equivalent to digestive enzymes. In fact, when managing most health concerns, correcting digestion is often the very first line of management.  Click Here - Learn How To Improve Digestion Naturally

Great Video: 10 Steps To Reverse Autoimmune Disease - Dr. Mark Hyman

Balanced Doshas
According to the teachings of Ayurveda, there are three doshas called vata, pitta, and kapha. We can think of these three doshas as the guiding principles that keep all our bodily functions balanced and healthy.

“Health results from the natural, balanced state of the doshas.
Therefore, the wise try to keep them in their balanced state.”
– Charak Samhita

In order to explain how to correct any underlying doshic imbalances it is important to introduce two very simple  principles common to the science of Ayurveda. These two principles are:

  • The Principle Of Similarity: like increases like
  • The Principle Of Opposites: opposites restore balance


The Principle Of Similarity
This principle of ‘like increases like’ clearly explains that if one of your doshas [vata, pitta, or kapha] becomes imbalanced then it’s likely that you will experience symptoms which directly reflect that particular quality which belongs to the imbalanced dosha.

The Principle Of Opposites
Likewise, when a certain quality [i.e. hot quality] of a dosha becomes imbalanced the best way to re-establish balance is simply to introduce the opposing quality. For example, cool & cold qualities help to balance the hot quality in order to regain a state of balance.
Click Here - To Learn More About Balancing Doshas


Ama - Toxins

As mentioned above, “ama” is the by-product of poor digestion and is thought to be toxic to the body. The by-product of poor digestion may accumulate in the colon and create a hostile environment within the G.I. tract; i.e. supporting unhealthy gut flora. Not only does this support an unhealthy gut flora but even worse, it supports the process of fermentation and putrefaction.
Click Here - To Learn How To Remove Ama

“When food is digested improperly because agni [the digestive flame] is low the undigested food becomes vitiated [disturbed] and collects in the stomach.
It is known as ama [toxins].”
– Astangahrdaya Samhita

Goal: Purify The Body Of Ama [Toxins]
“Due to the purification of the body, the capacity of digestion and metabolism is enhanced, normal health is restored, all sense organs start working with vigor, old age is prevented and diseases cured.”
– Charaka Samhita Ch. 16 Sutra 17-19


Preserving Ojas

Having strong Ojas helps maintain optimum health and many diet and lifestyle factors can contribute to either depleting or nourishing ones Ojas. Ojas is defined as the pure essence of the bodily tissues and is considered the refined by-product of healthy digestion. In essence, ojas is referred to as the source of vitality, immunity and vigor in the body.
Click Here - To Learn More About Ojas


"The Connection"

Rheumatoid Arthritis
According to Ayurveda, vata dosha and bone tissue [asthi dhatu] are intimately connected. Vata primarily governs the element of space and the porous nature of bone makes the skeletal system one of the primary sites of vata dosha. The colon is also the primary site of vata. Interestingly, the mucous lining of the colon membrane is responsible for the absorption of minerals which support bone tissue. This emphasis the connection that connective tissue disorders and skeletal conditions [i.e. rheumatoid arthritis] begin in the gut.

“All disease begins in the gut.” - Hippocrates

As explained above, if the digestive fire [agni] is diminished then this impaired digestion will lead to the formation of toxic by-products of poor digestion called “ama”. Eventually, the toxic substances of ama begin to accumulate in the colon and begin to get absorbed into the general circulation. Due to the intimate relationship of the colon and bone tissue much of these toxic substances [ama] get carried by vata dosha to the skeletal and connective tissue [primary sites of vata dosha] - this illustrates the initial stages of rheumatoid arthritis. The residue of ama [toxins] that chronically resides on the cell membrane gives rise to an attack on various tissues such as connective tissue, bones, and joints which correlates well with our modern view of the rheumatoid factor.

Prevention Is Key:
Healthy digestion and the prevention of ama are the first steps in preventing disease.

Natural Management

Langhana - Fasting Or Eating Light Foods
The initial management of autoimmune conditions is to break the chain of toxemia.  The first goal is to prevent the formation of by-products of poor digestion [i.e. ama]. Therefore, fasting or eating light and easily digestible food is the initial management. Likewise, to help improve the digestive flame [agni] and burn some of the toxins [ama] you may also want to consider spices such as cumin, mustard, and ginger powder.

Foods which are easy to digest include:

  • rice broth
  • softly cooked rice
  • tapioca


Pulling Out The Toxins
Longstanding autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis have residual toxins within the synovial membrane and joint space. Therefore, Ayurveda would recommend applying the principle of heat [i.e. hot sauna, steam bath or hot shower] to help loosen up the ‘stickiness’ of ama. By loosening up ama from certain tissues and/or joint space, one can then apply certain pastes externally on the joints. This will help to pull out toxic ama and help to reduce pain, swelling, and inflammation. Certain pastes which can be applied externally [onto the joints] are formed by certain powders such as bachan, dhattura, and vacha. All of these considerations should be considered under the guidance and supervision of a qualified Ayurvedic professional and after having discussed these options with your primary care physician.

Bitter Herbs
According to Ayurvedic principles, bitter herbs consist mostly of ether and air elements. These subtle elements of [ether + air] allow bitter herbs to spread into subtle channels of tissue [i.e. articular surface within the joint space]. Generally, bitter herbs are cooling. However, there are some bitter herbs such as rasna, guggulu and parijata which are heating and therefore are able to enter into subtle channels of tissue [i.e. articular surfaces] and help ‘burn toxins’ [ama] - ama being that which is stimulating the autoimmune response.

Pungent Herbs
Pungent herbs like trikatu help to improve the function of the digestive fire [agni] while helping to burn toxins [ama]. Trikatu is a combination of ginger, black pepper, and pippali which helps to clear toxins within both the digestive system and tissues of the body.

Because trikatu and pungent herbs can enhance the function of the immune system, it should only be considered under the guidance of a qualified ayurvedic/herbal professional and after first discussing these options with your primary care physician.
Click Here -To Learn More About Trikatu

Panchakarma - The Complete Detox System
Panchakarma is an Ayurvedic purification system which helps to remove impurities and toxins from the physiological channels of the body. With proper purification of the body springs forth greater cellular intelligence allowing for optimal functioning of the body as a whole.

The Five Purifying Actions Of Panchakarma:

  • vamana: therapeutic vomiting
  • virechana: purgative or laxative therapy
  • basti: medicated enema therapy
  • nasya: nasal administration of medicated oils
  • rakta moksha: blood-letting; purifying blood


“Through the use of vamana, basti, and rasayana [rejuvenative therapy] as well as proper diet and lifestyle, one can prevent the recurrence of rheumatic fever and rheumatoid arthritis.”
- Dr. Vasant Lad, Ayurvedic Physician
 Click Here - To Learn More About Panchakarma

Anti-Inflammatory Turmeric Sun Dressing
Turmeric is widely utilized in Ayurvedic Medicine in treating allergies, immune conditions, liver diseases and neurological disorders. It is considered a holy, auspicious and natural healer.


  • 4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice + zest of 2 Lemons
  • ¼ avocado
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. ground turmeric
  • 1 Tbsp. raw local honey — if not vegan
  • pinch of Himalayan sea salt (to taste)


Blend all ingredients in a blender.  Add more avocado if you desire a thicker consistency.
Click Here - Benefits Of Turmeric

Recipe Credit To:

This is strictly for educational purpose only and not medical advice. Always first consult your primary care physician before considering any new health regimen.

Ayurvedic Perspective On Selected Pathologies, Dr. Vasant Lad - 2nd Edition